Photography, it is often said, is painting by light. Most studios are awash in white, the bright uniformity a way to manipulate the visual horizon and capture the light. But within the world of Sheer Beauty, the studio is dark as night—black walls, floor and ceiling. Paradoxically, the darkness allows the camera to not only capture the light but also control it in ways both expected and not.
There are challenges, of course, to painting by night (including the inevitable bumping of head and tripping over wires). Cameras and lights need to be adjusted, make-up must be modified. The absence of light alters the dynamic between model and photographer. In the night lies the unknown, waiting for discovery.
Starting in darkness, then, the eight women celebrated here emerge in a number of distinct lights. Diverse techniques serve to infuse each image with its own transformative tale. Infrared, historically used for landscape photography, here imparts a startling energy. Various patterns and imagery projected onto the model add intrigue and abstraction. Some images come alive with color, others gain contour through black and white.
These prismatic ways to paint with light result in a transformation of each woman, the images combining to create a chapter in her life. And so each chapter of this Sheer Beauty is named after the woman whose story unfolds on its pages. Here is beauty brought—compellingly, startlingly, gloriously—to light.